DUP distances itself from councillor’s ‘local homes for local people’ leaflets

The DUP has stressed that it did not give a Belfast city councillor the go-ahead to distribute election leaflets containing controversial pledges on housing and immigration.

Wednesday, 6th March 2019, 10:42 am
Updated Wednesday, 6th March 2019, 1:00 pm
Cllr Graham Craig. Pic by Pacemaker

Cllr Graham Craig, who is seeking re-election in the Botanic DEA in May’s local government poll, distributed leaflets stating that he will continue to focus his efforts on a number of areas, including “local homes for local people” and “taking back control of immigration” – something which is not within the council’s remit.

He also pledged to work on “delivering more alley gates, more funding for loyalist areas in need and defending unionism at city hall.”

The wording on Cllr Craig’s correspondence referring to housing and immigration has been criticised by a number of political opponents and members of the public, some of whom have branded the leaflets “racist”.

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The DUP has insisted that it did not approve the distribution of the election leaflets.

A party spokesperson said: “This was produced by Cllr Graham Craig. It was not sanctioned by the party. Housing and immigration are important issues but also deeply sensitive and should be handled in that manner. This leaflet clearly fails to do so. An instruction that it should not be distributed has been given to Cllr Craig and the matter referred to Party officers.”

A former special advisor to Sammy Wilson, Cllr Craig quit the party to join the UUP but returned to the DUP fold in 2016.

The News Letter has attempted to contact Cllr Craig for comment.

It is understood the office of the Northern Ireland Local Government Commissioner for Standards has received a verbal complaint about Cllr Craig’s leaflets, but a spokesman said as yet there has been no official complaint, which would have to be written and signed.